Past Events

Here you will find details of past events and seminars organised by the Centre.


10th February 2017
9.00 am – 4.00 pm, 202 Baring Court

Featured Speakers included:

Bas Aarts Professor of English Linguistics, UCL
Debra Myhill Professor of Education, Exeter
Philip Durrant Senior Lecturer in Language Education, Exeter
Ian Cushing Teaching Fellow, UCL
Mark Brenchley Associate Research Fellow, Exeter

Exeter's Centre for Research in Writing was delighted to host a special one-day symposium with the Survey of English Usage at University College London. Taking place at a time of increasing emphasis on the explicit teaching of grammar within the National Curriculum, the symposium provided a timely discussion of the current curricular conception of grammar, as well as considering the possible senses in which grammar is most relevant to the English classroom.  The symposium provided an invaluable opportunity to engage with the cutting-edge work of both centres into the role of grammar teaching and the nature of grammatical development.

The day itself was divided into two parts, with the afternoon session devoted to the featured speakers, and the morning session related to postgraduate research currently being undertaken at both the University of Exeter and Lancaster University.

Conference jointly organised by the Institute of Education, London and the University of Exter (July 2009)

Writing development is currently the focus of substantial international debate. It is the aspect of literacy education that has been least responsive to central government and state reforms. Teaching approaches in writing have been slower to change than those in teaching reading and pupil attainment in writing has increased at a much more modest rate than pupil attainment in reading. Substantial proportions of pupils from different social groups are constrained in accessing their entitlement to the wider curriculum because of their limited facility in utilising the written word.

Multiple perspectives can be used to address these issues, including those from psychology, sociology, linguistics and semiotics. Different theoretical perspectives may make not only specific empirical contributions to the study of writing development but also distinctive conceptual contributions to what the notion of development can comprise. Bringing multiple perspectives together in one forum is likely to advance the understanding of issues whose complexities often stretch beyond the conceptual reach of a single discipline. The Conference brings together many of the leading scholars in the world in the study of writing. They bring with them the analytical lenses of their particular discipline and the communicative skills from being accomplished synthesisers of the international literature. All presenters have published chapters in the Sage Handbook of Writing Development, published in 2009.

John Hayes From Idea to Text (ppt) (mp3)
Carol Christensen The Critical Role of Handwriting (ppt) (mp3)
Richard Hudson Measuring Maturity (ppt) (mp3)
Hilary Janks Writing: A Critical Literacy Perspective (ppt) (mp3)
Peter Bryant & Terezinha Nunes Morphemes and Children’s Spelling (ppt) (mp3)
Maria Jerskey Meeting the Needs of Advanced Bilingual Learners (ppt) (mp3)
Julie Dockrell Causes of Delay and Difficulty in the Production of Written Text (ppt) (mp3)
Brenton Doecke The Content of Students’ Writing   (mp3)
Charles Read Learning to Use Alphabetic Writing (ppt) (mp3)
David Galbraith Generating Ideas in Writing (ppt) (mp3)
Debra Myhill Becoming a Designer (ppt)  
Jackie Marsh Writing and Popular Culture (pdf) (mp3)
Denis Alamargot Modelling the Development of Written Composition (pdf) (mp3)
Anthony Wilson Development in the Writing of Poetry (ppt) (mp3)
Christina Ortmeier-Hooper The Expansion of Second Language Writing   (mp3)
Anne Haas Dyson Keynote   (mp3)
Marian Sainsbury Developing Writing in a High-Stakes Environment (ppt) (mp3)
Jon Smidt Developing Discourse Roles and Positionings (ppt) (mp3)
Chad Wickman Hypertext and Writing (ppt) (mp3)
Gert Rijlaarsdam The Role of Readers in Writing Development (pdf) (mp3)
Richard Andrews Writing Development Models (ppt) (mp3)
Brian Huot & Jeffrey Perry Toward a New Understanding of Classroom Writing Assessment (ppt) (mp3)
Judy Parr, Rebecca Jesson & Stuart McNaughton Agency and Platform: the Relationships between Talk and Writing (ppt) (mp3)
Doreen Starke-Meyering Plenary Keynote (ppt) (mp3)
Gunther Kress Keynote   (mp3)

For details of past visiting speaker seminars hosted by the Centre please see the events listed below.

WhenTimeDescriptionLocationAdd to Calendar
12 March 201913:00

A lecture by Professor Cathy Burnett (Sheffield Hallam University), The messiness of literacy: unsettling simple accounts of literacy through a baroque perspective on virtual play

Full details
Baring Court 114Add this to your calendar
18 October 201816:30

Lecture by Professor Michael W. Apple (University of Wisconsin), Can Education Change Society?

Many people take it for granted that there can be no serious change in education unless "society" changes. While these arguments need to be taken seriously, there are substantive conceptual, historical, and political problems with them. Furthermore they can lead to cynicism. I critically examine a number of these claims and argue for a position in which education can indeed participate in social transformation. Full details
Baring Court, Room 114Add this to your calendar
6 February 201817:00

Seminar by Dr Marcello Giovanelli (Aston University) Text World Theory and teacher-oriented grammatics: Facilitating creativity, reading and writing in the classroom

Stylistics has both over time and more recently underpinned much work that has gone on in EFL teaching, work in English departments in higher education, and creative and professional writing programmes. However, its potential influence as a valuable pedagogical tool for secondary age students (11-18) has yet to be fully explored. This paper therefore argues for a stylistics-informed pedagogy in the secondary phase drawing on Halliday’s notion of ‘grammatics’ as a way of using knowledge about language ‘to think with’. Specifically, I argue that Text World Theory offers an example of what I term ‘teacher-oriented grammatics’ and provides a cognitively-informed updating of existing readers-response theories which have traditionally been seen as highly attractive by teachers. Full details
Baring Court 114Add this to your calendar
6 December 201613:00

Seminar by Professor Jane Oakhill (University of Sussex) 'Children’s difficulties with text comprehension: From research to practice'

A substantial minority of children have problems with text comprehension, even though their word recognition is within the normal range. Research has shown that skilled and less-skilled comprehenders differ in a number of ways, and in the first part of this presentation I will discuss the relative contribution of several theoretically relevant skills and abilities to the prediction of reading comprehension (as opposed to single word reading) during the early years of schooling (age 7 to 11). In the second part of the talk, I will consider some open questions and possible future directions for this research, with a particular focus on the relations between vocabulary skills and inference making. I will also consider the implications of the findings so far for helping children to develop and improve their comprehension skills. Full details
Baring Court 114Add this to your calendar
3 November 201517:00

Seminar by Dr Nigel Harwood (University of Sheffield) 'Experiencing master’s dissertation supervision: two supervisors’ perspectives'

. Full details
Baring Court 114Add this to your calendar
16 June 201517:00

Seminar by Dr Julia Davies (University of Sheffield) '(Im)Material girls living in (im)material worlds: identity curation through time and space'

This paper describes the role of Facebook in the lives of a group of fashion conscious trainee hairdressers living in a city in the north of England. The research looks at vernacular digital literacy practices in the lives of these Facebook friends. Following Leander and McKim (2003). Julia used a connected approach, tracing narratives as they flowed across the spaces of my friends’ lives. These women were not interested in academic reading or writing but invested time reading and writing using their smartphones. Their literacy practices were integral to their social and working lives; Facebook mediated and constituted social acts, evolving as a material reality, something to be curated (Potter, 2012) as well as a means through which they composed (Latta Kirby, 2013) their lives. The friends crafted textual identity performances which reflected and impacted how they saw themselves, their world and their place within it. The boundedness of different spaces were porous as images of bedrooms, nightclubs and bars, the salon and the college were displayed in online albums. Julia argues that this dynamic gave rise to complex interactions and relationships bringing about new ways of performing and understanding the self. Full details
Baring Court 114Add this to your calendar
28 October 201417:00

'Developmental writing difficulties: assessing writing products and writing processes' Speaker: Professor Julie Dockrell (University of London)

Children with Language Learning Difficulties (LLD) are predominantly educated in mainstream classrooms. They raise challenges for teaching and learning and typically progress more slowly in literacy than their peers. Children with LLD also experience problems when producing written texts and produce texts of lower quality with fewer words and reduced lexical diversity (Connelly et al, 2012; Dockrell et al, 2007, 2009; 2013). The majority of studies of children’s writing focus on the writing product and from this make inferences about the writing process. Using a cohort of pupils with LLD I will report on a study which uses both measures of the writing product and the writing process to explore difficulties with written language. Implications for the development of models of writing and writing interventions will be explored. Full details
EMS Building G18 Add this to your calendar
28 January 201413:00

Speaker: Dr Paul Thompson (University of Birmingham) Title: Investigating the discourse of interdisciplinary research

In this talk I will report on the first stages of an ESRC funded project carried out at the Centre for Corpus Research, in collaboration with the publisher Elsevier, in which we investigate the discourse of a successful journal in an interdisciplinary field: Global Environmental Change. Our aims are to study the extent to which this field operates as a unified whole, the extent to which journal authors in the field broaden their messages to a multidisciplinary audience, and the extent to which each discipline in the field maintains a discrete identity. Full details
EMS Building G18 Add this to your calendar